‘Beauty and the Beast’s gay character not as groundbreaking as Disney believes

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is going to feature the first ever gay character in a movie — LeFou, Gaston’s geeky sidekick. This character, played by actor Josh Gad, is groundbreaking for a children’s movie, as Disney believes so.

Bill Condon, who directs the film, revealed the news when he was interviewed by Attitude magazine. He explained that LeFou is “puzzled about what he wants. He is someone who is only recognizing that he holds these feelings.”  And he said that Josh does it in a really subtle and delectable manner.   

LeFou is the personality who leads the popular song Gaston, singing praises for Gaston despite the latter’s bullying.

On one hand, it is nice for Disney to include a gay character in one of its movies, which hopefully will break ground for LGBT representation in its other films like Star Wars and Marvel. On another hand, it is rather strange to outline this as a marvelous accomplishment. Here’s why:

LeFou is a comic character, just like in the movie’s animated version. Gaston is an epitome of heterosexual masculinity in a satirized way, and LeFou is his wimpy sidekick who silently pines after him. He serves as Gaston’s ego booster and helps him crush the leading characters. You can take this as a heartbreaking tale for Lefou; but it is not much of a high point in favor of LGCBT representation today — a goofball who hopelessly languishes over a burly straight guy. It is also important to remember that Disney has a track record of showcasing bewildered gay villains in its animated films.       

Obviously, Beauty and the Beast is yet to be shown, so this might be an overly harsh judgment after all. Additionally, Bill Condon said that the subplot of LeFou will pay-off at the closing part through some “exclusively gay moment”. Perhaps LeFou and Gaston will eventually be together and live happily-ever-after. A bit dubious of an ending but, of course, the heart desires what it desires.

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